The Just Baseball Staff Predicts the 2024 MLB Award Winners

In part two of a three-part series, the Just Baseball staff offers their predictions for the 2024 end-of-year awards.

Mookie Betts of the Los Angeles Dodgers stands on defense against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch.
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - FEBRUARY 27: Mookie Betts #50 of the Los Angeles Dodgers stands on defense against the Chicago White Sox at Camelback Ranch on February 27, 2024 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

This is part two in a three-part series of Just Baseball staff predictions. You can read the introduction to the series and our predictions for the playoff field here. Check back later this week for our bold predictions.

Predicting the 2024 End-of-Season Awards

MVP Predictions

NL MVP: Mookie Betts, Dodgers (11 out of 25 votes)

Also receiving votes: Ronald Acuña Jr. (5), Fernando Tatis Jr. (4), Matt Olson (2), Bryce Harper (1), Shohei Ohtani (1), Austin Riley (1)

Ronald Acuña Jr. might be the odds-on favorite to repeat as NL MVP, but our staff is all in on Mookie Betts. After finishing as the runner-up last season (and placing fifth the year before), Betts is already off to a strong start in 2024. He went six-for-nine in the Seoul Series, scoring twice and driving in seven.

The big question for Betts is whether his new position will help or hurt his MVP chances. If he succeeds at shortstop, it’s one more point in his favor. However, his WAR will take a hit if he can’t keep up at his new position.

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Six other players received votes, and there isn’t a bad choice among them. Acuña is the reigning winner. Fernando Tatis Jr. is one of the most promising young stars in the game. He struggled in the second half last year, but his defense in right field was phenomenal and he is looking to get back on track another year removed from suspension and surgery.

Matt Olson was last year’s home run king. Bryce Harper is already a two-time winner, as is Shohei Ohtani. Finally, Austin Riley has turned himself into a perennial down-ballot MVP candidate, and few would be surprised if he takes things to the next level in his age-27 campaign.

AL MVP: Juan Soto, Yankees (11/25)

Also receiving votes: Julio Rodríguez (9), Yordan Alvarez (1), Gunnar Henderson (1), Corey Seager (1), Mike Trout (1), Kyle Tucker (1)

This was incredibly close, but Juan Soto edged out his World Baseball Classic teammate Julio Rodríguez by two votes. No one else was named on more than one ballot.

Rodríguez is a five-tool talent, while Soto is one of the greatest hitters in the game. I’ll be very surprised if either one of them never wins an MVP. So why does our staff favor Soto this year? Perhaps it’s recency bias; after all, it will be Soto’s first season in the American League. Conversely, it might be the other way around. Soto has been a superstar for six years, and J-Rod for only two. If the baseball gods were fair, Soto’s turn would come first.

As fun as it is to talk about Soto and Rodríguez, the most interesting thing about these AL MVP predictions might be the name that isn’t there: Aaron Judge. If he can stay on the field for a full season, we might just come to regret that. After all, plenty of sources see Judge as the favorite for the award.

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Cy Young Predictions

NL Cy Young: Spencer Strider, Braves (16/24)

Spencer Strider
DENVER, CO – JUNE 4: Spencer Strider #65 of the Atlanta Braves pitches against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on June 4, 2022 in Denver, Colorado. The Colorado Rockies debuted the team’s city connect uniforms in the game. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Also receiving votes: Zack Wheeler (5), Logan Webb (2), Sonny Gray (1)

With 16 votes, Spencer Strider was the most popular selection among our staff across all five awards categories. Technically, one of those 16 staffers voted for Spencer Steer, but I made an executive editorial decision to count that as a vote for Strider.

The Braves ace was so dominant last season that he came fourth in Cy Young voting despite his 3.86 ERA. He led the league with 281 strikeouts, a 2.85 FIP, and 3.09 xERA. It’s easy to see why he’s such a popular pick entering his third big league season.

Zack Wheeler, who has quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball over the past four years, also earned plenty of love. He will turn 34 this season, yet considering the three-year, $126 million extension he signed earlier this month, the Phillies don’t expect him to slow down any time soon.

Logan Webb and Sonny Gray, last year’s runners-up in the NL and AL, respectively, received the remaining votes. Notable absences include reigning winner Blake Snell and 2023 third-place finisher Zac Gallen.

AL Cy Young: Corbin Burnes, Orioles (6/25) OR George Kirby, Mariners (6/25)

Also receiving votes: Luis Castillo (4), Pablo López (4), Kevin Gausman (2), Tarik Skubal (2), Logan Gilbert (1)

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I am beyond excited for the AL Cy Young race this year. Last year, entering the season, there were a couple of clear frontrunners for the award: Gerrit Cole and Jacob deGrom.

This year? The race is wide open. At least that’s how I see it, and the rest of the Just Baseball staff seems to agree. No pitcher earned more than one-quarter of the votes, with Corbin Burnes and George Kirby tied at six votes apiece.

Burnes would be the first Orioles Cy Young since Steve Stone in 1980. It would be thrilling to see him return to Cy Young form in his first year with his new team – especially as he prepares to reach free agency after the season.

Meanwhile, it would be just as fun to see someone like Kirby, Luis Castillo, or Pablo López take the next step and become the top pitcher in the American League. Perhaps the most fascinating dark horse candidate is Tarik Skubal; he has never even qualified for the ERA title in his young career, but he was arguably the best pitcher in baseball over the final three months last season.

One final storyline to keep an eye on? Three Mariners received votes in our poll, which tells you just how dominant Seattle’s rotation could be.

Rookie of the Year Predictions

NL ROY: Jackson Chourio, Brewers (7/25)

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – MARCH 06: Jackson Chourio #11 of the Milwaukee Brewers celebrates with teammates after scoring a run in the first inning during a spring training game against the Cincinnati Reds at Goodyear Ballpark on March 06, 2024 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Aaron Doster/Getty Images)

Also receiving votes: Jung Hoo Lee (6), Yoshinobu Yamamoto (6), Jackson Merrill (4), Shota Imanaga (1), Paul Skenes (1)

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This is the first of our staff predictions that truly took me by surprise. Jackson Chourio is a phenomenal young talent (No. 4 on our Top 100 ranking), but he only just turned 20 years old. Not only that, but his top competition for NL Rookie of the Year comes from a couple of far more experienced players: Yoshinobu Yamamoto, coming over from NPB, and Jung Hoo Lee, coming over from the KBO. Yamamoto, in particular, is widely seen as the NL ROY favorite.

Nevertheless, our staff showed just as much love for the youngsters as the international stars. A total of 13 votes went to Yamamoto, Lee, and Shota Imanaga, while 12 voters put their support behind Chourio, Jackson Merrill, and Paul Skenes. That vote for Skenes is especially aggressive, considering the 2023 first-overall pick isn’t even on the Pirates’ 40-man roster.

AL ROY: Wyatt Langford, Rangers (11/25)

Also receiving votes: Evan Carter (7), Jackson Holliday (4), Junior Caminero (2), Curtis Mead (1)

This selection is far less surprising. With the top three international free agents all choosing NL teams, this race is all about the kids.

After the Orioles optioned Jackson Holliday (Just Baseball’s No. 1 prospect) to Triple-A, Wyatt Langford (Just Baseball’s No. 2 prospect) immediately became the AL Rookie of the Year favorite.

The fourth-overall pick in the 2023 draft, Langford tore his way through the minors in just half a season, mashing at every step of the way. He slashed .360/.480/.677 across four levels, and now he’s looking to do more of the same against big league pitching.

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Langford’s biggest competition might just be his teammate Evan Carter (Just Baseball’s No. 5 prospect), who earned support from seven of our staffers. While Langford might have a higher ceiling, Carter has already proven he can hold his own at the highest level.

Junior Caminero (Just Baseball’s No. 3 prospect) doesn’t have quite as high a ceiling as Holliday or Langford, and unlike Carter, he struggled in his big league cup of coffee last season. What’s more, he was left off of Tampa Bay’s Opening Day roster, which certainly hurts his ROY chances. That said, he is still an unbelievable talent, and he has a path to playing time with the Rays if he excels in the minors.

Curtis Mead (Just Baseball’s No. 41 prospect) is another infield prospect for the Rays. While he ranks a few tiers below Caminero, Mead made the Opening Day roster. He is hardly a favorite, but I have to admire the lone voter who made this dark horse pick.

Manager of the Year Predictions

NL MOY: Craig Counsell, Cubs (11/25)

Also receiving votes: David Bell (3), Mike Shildt (3), Bob Melvin (2), Derek Shelton (2), Oli Marmol (1), Carlos Mendoza (1), Brian Snitker (1), Rob Thomson (1)

After signing a record-smashing $40 million contract with the Chicago Cubs, Craig Counsell is the clear favorite for NL Manager of the Year. He is taking over a Cubs team that hasn’t made the playoffs in a full season since 2018, and our staff thinks he has a pretty good chance to lead them to a division title. Moreover, while Counsell is highly respected around the league, he has never won MOY, finishing second four times. This could be the year that finally changes.

Other managers receiving multiple votes were David Bell (Reds), Mike Shildt (Padres), Bob Melvin (Giants), and Derek Shelton (Pirates).

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AL MOY: Scott Servais, Mariners (6/25)

Also receiving votes: A.J. Hinch (5), Joe Espada (3), Brandon Hyde (3), Rocco Baldelli (2), Matt Quatraro (2), Aaron Boone (1), Bruce Bochy (1), Kevin Cash (1), Stephen Vogt (1)

There was no clear favorite in the AL, but once again, our staff seems to like three categories of managers: (1) managers on teams that just missed the playoffs last year, (2) managers on teams that could surprise us in 2024, and (3) new managers.

Scott Servais could be the frontrunner if he leads the Mariners back to the playoffs, but he’ll have some stiff competition from A.J. Hinch or Matt Quatraro if the Tigers or Royals, respectively, outperform expectations this season. Joe Espada and Stephen Vogt will also be strong contenders if they can live up to their legendary predecessors in their first seasons as managers.

Platinum Glove Predictions

NL Platinum Glove: Ke’Bryan Hayes, Pirates (5/22)

Also receiving votes: Dansby Swanson (4), Nolan Arenado (2), Matt Chapman (2), Brenton Doyle (2), Francisco Lindor (2), Fernando Tatis Jr. (2), Ha-Seong Kim (1), Johan Rojas (1), Patrick Bailey (1)

A couple of years ago, this would have been the easiest award to predict. From 2017 to ’22, Nolan Arenado won six consecutive Platinum Glove Awards. However, in 2023, Arenado didn’t just miss out on the Platinum Glove, he missed out on the Gold Glove for the first time in his career.

The player who beat Arenado for the Platinum Glove was Fernando Tatis Jr. The player who finally unseated him as the Gold Glove winner at third base was Ke’Bryan Hayes. Unsurprisingly, you’ll see both of those names among our predicted winners for 2024.

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Other players to earn multiple votes include Dansby Swanson, who leads all defenders with 40 OAA over the past two years; Matt Chapman, who won back-to-back Platinum Gloves with the A’s; Brenton Doyle, who brings elite range and a powerful arm to center field; and Francisco Lindor, who has been an elite defensive player for nine years in a row.

AL Platinum Glove: Andrés Giménez, Guardians (7/24)

Andres Gimenez
CLEVELAND, OH – JUNE 30: Andrés Giménez #0 of the Cleveland Guardians celebrates hitting a walk off two-run home run off Tyler Thornburg of the Minnesota Twins to defeat the Twins 5-3 at Progressive Field on June 30, 2022 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images)

Also receiving votes: Steven Kwan (3), Julio Rodríguez (3), Daulton Varsho (3), Bobby Witt Jr. (2), Carlos Correa (1), Kevin Kiermaier (1), Maikel Garcia (1), Trent Grisham (1), Luis Robert Jr. (1), Anthony Volpe (1)

Since the Platinum Glove was introduced in 2011, only two AL players have won the award in back-to-back seasons: Adrían Beltre in 2011 and ’12 and Matt Chapman in 2018 and ’19.

Yet, seven of our staff members think we’ll have another repeat winner in 2024: Andrés Giménez. He is already the only second baseman to win the award (in either league), and now he is looking to become the only second baseman to win the award twice.

While 11 different players received votes, Giménez got more than twice as much support as any other defender.

Steven Kwan, who won a Gold Glove in each of his first two seasons, is another strong contender. Interestingly, the other three players to receive multiple votes – Julio Rodríguez, Daulton Varsho, and Bobby Witt Jr. – have never even won a Gold Glove, let alone a Platinum Glove.

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